Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Planting Out

I have a schedule on paper, but it is only a suggested date to do things. My schedule said that my mizuna, tatsoi, Fun Jen, chard, mustard spinach, and Holland greens were to be planted on the third. That didn't happen. The Chinese cabbage was to be planted on the 10th and the broccoli and regular cabbage on the 17th. They all went in today. Their roots are starting to fill up the soil blocks and some have grown long along the bottom of the flat. Though at least they haven't spiraled around. If I didn't put them in, I would have had to pot them up. I really don't want the broccoli or the cabbage to see temperatures under 28°F. It is possible that they might. But laziness reigns supreme at times and planting them just seemed easier. No more worrying if the blocks are disintegrating or over watered or under watered. Now mother nature can take care of them.

I had already prepared the bed, but my compost has been frozen, so I couldn't add that. Today it was starting to defrost in spots, especially at the bottom, so I dug some out. It is not really finished compost. Half finished maybe. My oak leaves are hard to break down. I ought to shred them before putting them in, but without a shredder that didn't happen. No matter. Instead of incorporating it into the soil, I'll just use it as a mulch. The worms will work it in for me. That way the soil won't be robbed of nitrogen and the plants will still grow.

I planted:

  • 2 purple mizuna
  • 2 tatsoi
  • 2 Fun Jen
  • 3 broccoli, Packman
  • 4 cabbage, Gonzales
  • 2 mustard spinach (also called komatsuna)
  • 2 Holland greens
  • 3 Chinese cabbage, Rubicon
  • 4 Swiss chard, Bright Lights
  • 5 lettuce, 2xRed Sails, 2x Merveille de Quatre Saisons, 1xNew Red Fire

The above photo is of my Holland greens which is a new plant for me this year. It is also called Typhon and is a hybrid between Chinese cabbage and stubble turnips. It gets a couple of feet tall and puts out tons of leaves quickly and can be cut over and over. It is supposedly slow to bolt. It is very mild since it doesn't have any mustard oil.

The other plant I've never grown before this year is also a Brassica rapa. I love to try new plants and the Asian greens group is so diverse and tasty. I'm always trying different ones to see what works best here. Komatsuna or mustard spinach is a Japanese favorite, though rarely found in the US. It can be cut much like tatsoi. You can cut one leaf or all of them. If you cut above the growing point, the plant will grow back several times before bolting. Both this plant and the Holland greens are used a fodder crops in some places. I'm hoping that means they are very prolific. Go plants!

Fun Jen, last year's new Asian green

All the brassicas were covered up with a row cover. The cover looks quite weird. In some spots it is three feet wide and in some it is four feet. It is also much taller than my other row covers since it needs to be tall enough for the Holland greens and broccoli.

The chard was left uncovered. It ought to survive the mild frosts we will get in April. If a real freeze is predicted, I'll probably go out and protect that one too.

My lettuce seedlings were put with the rest of the lettuce under a row cover. I love how it looks with the older lettuce at the bottom, then the lettuce I put in today. The little green line above the newly planted lettuce is a row of radishes. My next succession will have more colors and should look even nicer.


  1. Your plants look beautiful, Daphne! I hadn't heard of Holland greens and will be looking for them from now on. Keep us posted about how you use them and what they taste like, please!

  2. You know I was having the same thought about getting things planted outside. I am getting pretty tired of looking after everything, especially the onions. The recommended brassica planting date here is April 20th, it can't come soon enough.

    My radishes sprouted today, right through the snow. It will be interesting to see how they develop after germinating in such cold weather.

  3. So pretty! I wish I were there already.

  4. Daphne, I am not on my written schedule either, Just seems we have to sometimes "go with the flow"

  5. None the less, I think you are the smartest thing! I don't have any way to chop my leaves, either. When I think about doing that, I always remember the man I read about who got a second hand garbage disposer and mounted it in an old table or something. He would place a bucket under it and run his garden waste through it before adding to his composter. Now, that is a handy man!

  6. OH I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! The photos are exciting and the produce are just wonderful. Aren't you super excited to see what the rest of spring will bring? My magnolia is starting to bloom - stop by and check it out!

  7. Our Friend Ben, I'm looking forward to figuring that out. I've read reports saying they are a bit bland because of the lack of mustard oil, but some people love them. I do keep hearing that they are a very healthful crop.

    Dan, I looked at the long range forecast and it said for the next week it wouldn't get below freezing. I was just hoping it wouldn't get below 28, no such luck. Now they are saying the weekend will be really cold. I might have to go out and protect them more. I'll see.

    themanicgardener, It is funny. I always look at the gardeners farther south and think. Oh if I could only plant them. Then here you are, a much more northern (or at least colder) gardener than I.

    keewee, I tend to do that a lot. The written schedule is important so I don't forget anything, but it's not the rule of law. The weather is.

    Barbee, lol a garbage disposal. Now that would be funny to see.

    Bren, thanks. And yes I'm always impatient in the spring. I really want to see everything grow. More importantly I want to be able to eat it already.

  8. Oh, the babies look very healthy. So what kind of soil did you end up using for the soil blocks? The roots look good too! I've found the same problem with the roots spreading out along the bottom, but I've found if I spread them out more in the flat so air can get to them, it helps. Same with the Dex pots. I've been so busy that I haven't had the time to make soil blocks! That is the only downfall to these for me :)

  9. So I'm not the only one that get's in trouble with a little laziness. lol.

    An inexpensive item I use to chop leaves is a leaf blower I bought at Lowes for under $100. Not only does it blow leaves, but you can rearrange it so that it sucks leaves into a sack as well. The bonus is that when it sucks up the leaves it also chops them! Maybe I'll post a pic on my page.


  10. Tessa, I'm using Fort V from the Vermont Compost Company. I would think that soil blocks would be quicker than the paper pots that you have been doing.

    Dennis, hmm that is an interesting solution. I'm wondering if I just might go the lawnmower route this year..